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Government of Canada celebrates the launch of the Canadian Business Disability Network to help advance the inclusion of persons

Government of Canada celebrates the launch of the Canadian Business Disability Network to help advance the inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workforce

Canada NewsWire

TORONTO, Dec. 4, 2023 /CNW/ - Employers in Canada recognize that having inclusive businesses and workplaces is a business imperative. A culture of diversity and inclusion is required to attract and retain the best talent, and to foster the growth and vitality of a business.

As celebrations for International Day of Persons with Disabilities continue around the world, today, the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera attended the launch of the Canadian Business Disability Network, hosted by Manulife Canada.

The Government of Canada recognizes that creating accessible and inclusive workplaces and ensuring that persons with disabilities are able to fully participate in the labour market is a key component of building a truly inclusive and accessible nation. To that end, in 2022 the Government of Canada presented Canada's first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan as a blueprint for change to make Canada more inclusive of the 27% of persons – or 8 million people – that identify as having a disability in our country.

Under the employment pillar of the Disability Inclusion Action Plan, the Disability Inclusion Business Council (DIBC) was formed. This council, created with the aim of addressing workplace barriers faced by persons with disabilities, has diligently worked towards incubating, designing, and now launching an independent, self-governed business disability network.

The Canadian Business Disability Network's key mission is to empower its member organizations to embrace disability-inclusive best practices that not only enhance their businesses but also contribute positively to their employees and customers. This collaborative effort will bring together industry experts, jointly resourced by member companies, to provide innovative programs and services. These initiatives will support businesses in enhancing the accessibility of their workplaces, as well as the products and services they offer to clients.

Moving forward, the collaboration between the network and the disability community will ensure its programs and services fully meet the needs of both businesses and persons with disabilities.

 Quotes

"The launch of the Canadian Business Disability Network is a true testament to the government and Canadians' commitment to building accessible businesses. I want to congratulate the Disability Inclusion Business Council on the launch of the network which will help Canadian businesses develop and share knowledge that will create more a more accessible economy. In particular, I would like to thank EY Canada, Manulife Canada, TELUS Health, and IBM Canada for their leadership on this important initiative."

 Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities, Kamal Khera

"Accessibility is a strong pillar of EY's diversity, equity and inclusion commitment, demonstrated in part by the growth of our Neurodiversity Centres of Excellence over the past decade — and now, helping some of Canada's leading businesses expand their own disability inclusion efforts. We're honoured to work with organizations that share these same values. As a proud Founding Member of the Canadian Business Disability Network, we're invested in creating workplace environments that are free of barriers and biases, while fostering independence and dignity to help unleash the full abilities of all Canadians."

– Chair, CEO and Chief Inclusiveness Officer at EY Canada, Jad Shimaly – EY is a Founding Member of the Canadian Business Disability Network.

"Manulife is proud to be a founding member of the Canadian Business Disability Network and play a part in helping organizations across the country create fully accessible work environments where people of all abilities can thrive – a cause that I am truly passionate about. Recognizing that we can – and must – do more is an important first step. I look forward to following the progress of the newly-launched network and offering my ongoing support to this important initiative."

 President and CEO of Manulife Canada, Naveed Irshad. Manulife Canada is a Founding Member of the Canadian Business Disability Network.

"TELUS Health is proud to be at the forefront of the Canadian Business Disability Network. The network is a national alliance of businesses dedicated to creating a barrier-free Canada that embraces the principles of accessibility and inclusion. As an active participant in this network, TELUS Health will work to empower member organizations to adopt and implement best practices that not only enhance their business operations but also create a positive impact on their employees and customers. We firmly believe that fostering greater inclusion of persons with disabilities in the workplace and in all aspects of society is not only essential for upholding the dignity and unlocking the potential of individuals but also for strengthening the fabric of our society as a whole."

– Global Leader, Research and Client Insights, TELUS Health, Paula Allen. TELUS Health is a Founding Member of the Canadian Business Disability Network. 

"IBM is proud to join the Canadian Business Disability Network as a technology-enablement partner to drive progress and action to attract and retain, and to serve persons with disabilities in Canada. As part of this commitment, IBM plans to provide an in-kind contribution to help enable member organizations to adopt best practices that will benefit their employees, customers, and businesses. This contribution may include IBM technology, services, expertise, and other resources."

– President of IBM Canada, Dave McCann

Quick Facts

  • The 2022 Canada Survey on Disability found that 27% of Canadians aged 15 and over—or about 8.0 million persons—report having a disability that limit them in their daily activities. An estimated 30.4% of persons with a disability are not in the labour force.



  • On December 7, 2022, the Government of Canada created the Disability Inclusion Business Council (DIBC) to provide advice and recommendations to the Government, and to design and launch a self-governed independent business network.



  • The Canadian Business Disability Network announced today, has the following as members: EY Canada, Manulife Canada, TELUS Health, and IBM Canada.



  • On September 23, 2020, the Government committed in its Speech from the Throne to create Canada's first-ever Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) that includes a new Canada Disability Benefit, a robust Employment Strategy for Canadians with disabilities, and a better process to determine eligibility for federal disability programs and benefits. Launched on October 7, 2022, the DIAP includes 4 pillars for change: financial security, employment, accessible and inclusive communities, and a modern approach to disability.



  • As part of the 2023-24 Government of Canada Advertising Plan, Employment and Social Development Canada is launching an advertising campaign in January 2024 to promote the hiring of persons with disabilities by small and medium size enterprise (SME) employers. The campaign will inform SME employers that persons with disabilities are a significant untapped source of labour that can address their labour force needs and that there are tools and resources available to help employers hire persons with disabilities.

Associated Links

For media enquiries, please contact:

Laurent de Casanove

Press Secretary

Office of the Minister of Diversity, Inclusion and Persons with Disabilities

laurent.decasanove@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

(819) 360-0693

Media Relations Office

Employment and Social Development Canada

819-994-5559

media@hrsdc-rhdcc.gc.ca

Follow us on Twitter 

For media inquiries on the Canadian Business Disability Network, please contact:

Farah Huq

Canadian Business Disability Network

info@cbdn-rceipsh.ca

SOURCE Employment and Social Development Canada



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